Afghanistan secure win over Scotland to win series

06 Jul

Craig Wallace hits out (Donald MacLeod)

Afghanistan 178/6 (37.2/37.2 ov) Shahzad 84, Shah 26, Wheal 2/31, Evans 2/34 beat Scotland 132 (27.1/36 ov, target 211) Wallace 33, Cross 24, by 78 runs (D/L Method)  [Scorecard]

Captain Ashgar Stanikzai won the toss and wasted little time in electing to bat first in glorious sunshine as the teams met for the second ODI at the Grange.

Some trademark hitting from Mohammad Shahzad at the top of the Afghanistan batting line-up helped his side recover from the loss of Noor Ali, caught by Safyaan Sharif off Ali Evans for 6.

Brad Wheal bowled a lively spell for the Scots to collect two wickets from his 8 overs, thanks to two athletic catches by Con de Lange to account for Javed Ahmadi and Nabijullah Zadran.

Monday’s centurion Rahmat Shah wasn’t able to produce the same fireworks as he skied a Sharif delivery to Craig Wallace at mid-on for 26, as Afghanistan moved to 131/3 in the 29th over.

Shahzad looked to be in hurry as he plundered 84 from just 91 deliveries, which included 8 fours and 2 sixes, and looked well set for a 100 before nicking a cut through to Matthew Cross behind the stumps.

The rain again returned and forced a halt in proceedings for 3 hours and 10 minutes with the visitors on 178/6 after 37.2 overs.

Scotland were then set revised target of 211 from 36 overs as the mop-up job began.

Kyle Coetzer departed in the first over of Scotland’s reply as he edged a Dalwat Zadran delivery to Ashraf Mirwais at slip.

An eventful first over concluded as Craig Wallace slog-swept the ball into the tennis court. The Forfashire man would continue his brutal assault, along with the aid of Matthew Cross, to put Scotland into a strong position.

The pair added 50 in just 5.1 overs as the Afghan seamers were sent to all parts of the ground.

There was controversy in the sixth over as Afghanistan claimed the catch on the boundary to dismiss Wallace - although after the two umpires conferred with each other a six was awarded.

Two deliveries later Matthew Cross was caught on the rope for 24 after taking the attack to Afghanistan. 

The wicket of Craig Wallace five balls later – caught and bowled by Rashid Khan – turned the game on its head after an impressive 33 from only 15 deliveries. 

From 59/2 the Scots couldn’t keep wickets intact as only Berrington and Con de Lange could reach the 20s as they slid to a 78 run defeat, as Afghanistan claimed a series win 1-0. 

At the conclusion of the series captain Preston Mommsen said, ‘I thought we good for the first part and parts of the second, but we couldn’t just get over the line. They’ve got a dynamic bowling attack and bowled pretty well, helped by some questionable shot selection on our part.’ 

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